Quality should decide school closures
RE: Sadly, some schools should close (July 3)
Sadly, you say, some schools should close. Seldom, if ever, in pronouncements like this, is quality of education results measured, only cost and school size.
Yet measures of the quality of Ontario’s education results (EQAO rankings, with all their warts) and cost in tax dollars (published finances) are readily available. This strongly suggests that an important consideration in school closure decisions should be results per tax dollar.
I once analyzed this for Burlington schools. It was clear that the Burlington system’s results per dollar varied a lot. The lowest ranking five schools’ results per dollar was far lower than the highest five or of the average. A similar bar chart for school size showed a distinct “sweet spot”: schools populated with about 300 to 600 students produced better results per tax dollar than smaller or larger schools.
It is worth noting that, for a century, Alberta’s education results from small schools have been world-class, well above Ontario’s. Canada’s Chief Justice, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlan, was educated in a tiny school in a tiny village, Pincher Creek, Alberta. Resources? Her school had no gym, no pool; its only “resource” was a ball diamond on the boys’ side comprising merely four well-worn tracks in the sod. The girls played hopscotch on their side. The call to classes was a cowbell rung out the principal’s window.
Clearly, quality per tax dollar as well as population should be an important criterion for school closures. Frank Gue, Burlington